Topic Nintendo Podcast 18 (Hyrule Warriors Switch)

Topic - Hyrule Warriors Switch
Join hosts Gary Gray and Ricky Gray as they talk about all things Nintendo!
On this Weeks episode we talk about our ideas for Hyrule Warriors Switch. 

Find us on Twitter! 
@_Topicnintendo
@GarytheKoopa
@RhixLG
@PmythGaming

Links to Paul Lloyd's Mario Maker video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rvuo7PHI4Ec

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Yono and the Celestial Elephants Review

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Yono and the Celestial Elephants Review
By Gary Gray


Straight away Yono is a full bag of charm, from the cute main character to the sheer beauty of its graphical style, something about Yono can just pull you in straight in.

Set in a world filled with a diverse species from human and robots to the undead, Yono gets sent from the heavens like other celestial elephants before him, to basically save the different species and sort out their problems. Yono is pretty clueless on what he has to do, but gets reminded about that the great elephants before him have done. An interesting twist on a story, a story that’s actually skimming on adult themes and slightly political (within its own worlds and characters of course).

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Yono might be fairly simple in terms of controls, whatever you learn at the start of the game is what you will have at the end, there’s no upgrades and no inventory, something that I actually enjoyed as many games can rely too heavily on trying to find collectibles rather than concentrating on the puzzles.

The majority of the game play in Yono is built around puzzles, some are quite simple push block puzzles, but later the evolve to be a bit more challenging creating times where you’ll have to step back and really think about what the next step is. As I explained earlier there's no skill upgrades so puzzles literally just rely on pure thought.

Combat is also present in Yono although in a simple form, as a brave little elephant you have the ability to use your trunk to blow enemy’s back and the ability to charge. A target selector is also present however doesn’t really lock on as well as I feel it should, and charging at the enemy can be disastrous if you haven’t given yourself room for a run up, leaving the enemy with perfect opportunities to hit you. Combat is the main part of Yono that could do with a little bit of a spruce up, however combat doesn’t crop up very often so it won’t leave you frustrated.

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Yono is best digested when you can relax and stroll through casually and smell the flowers, with its tiny details such as wildlife, and dialogue that is both charming and diverse you’ll never feel the pressure and frustrations of being pushed forwards before you're ready.

One thing I Really love about Yono is the ability to buy new skins for your elephant, some of which are nods to other franchises you may recognise! You can also upgrade your health by collecting rare items and then taking them to a shop that will convert them into an extra life slot, so you're rewarded for going out of your way to collect everything.

All in all Yono is a fantastic game that really shouldn’t be missed if you’re a fan of Zelda like puzzles. With its beautiful graphics, simple mechanics and all out charm, yono can be played by any member of the family. Because of this I give Yono and the celestial Elephants a silver award! I’m hoping we'll be seeing more of the little elephant in the future.
 

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Topic Nintendo Podcast 16 (Halloween Moments)

Topic - Top Halloween Moments
Join hosts Gary Gray and Phil Myth as they talk about all things Nintendo!
On this Weeks episode we talk about our top Halloween moments in Video Games. 

Find us on Twitter! 
@_Topicnintendo
@_gatch0
@PmythGaming

Thanks for listening.

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Topic Nintendo Podcast 15 (Future Of Mario W/Justin Masson)

Topic - The Future Of Mario
Join hosts Gary Gray and Phil Myth as they talk about all things Nintendo!
Whats the Future of Mario after Odyssey? Join us as we give our opinions with special guest Justin Masson.

Find us on Twitter! 
@_Topicnintendo
@_gatch0
@PmythGaming
@Masson23
@Nintendodads

Thanks for listening.

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Topic Nintendo Podcast 13 (Lots Of Games at EGX)

Topic - Lots of Games at EGX

Join host Gary Gray and Phil Myth as they talk about EGX in Birmingham England!

Note: Late posting due to family Emergence, Sorry for the absence but i'm sure you understand. 

Find us on Twitter! 
@_Topicnintendo
@gatch0
@PmythGaming

Thanks for listening

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Quest of Dungeons Review

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Quest of Dungeons Review
By Gary Gray

At first glance quest of dungeons seems like just another dungeon crawler with retro style graphics……. so is it?


I do as little research on a game going in, as not to be swayed by other people's opinions and game play impressions, so loading it up i expected another Link to the past style action adventure game. Straight away i knew i was deeply wrong, as the characters move a square at a time on a grid based system, and my first encounter with the enemy made me realise that this was more RPG than an action adventure.

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In an interesting twist the Game play is half turn based battle, half real time battle set up in a rogue-like twist. As you move along a square at a time, the enemies move every time you do, so sometimes your best to asses the surroundings and enemy placement before running in.
Choosing a hero before you start each play through makes the game dramatically different, from a Warrior who uses close combat, Assassin who uses ranged weapons, Wizard who summons magic or a Shaman who uses skills as well as close combat. Personally I liked the longer ranged classes more, taking down enemies from a longer range but them suffering the sheer panic of when they get too close.

Treasures, pickups and shops mean you can tweak your character with different abilities, armour and weaponry. Although this doesn't make any cosmetic changes to your character, you can boost the power of your weaponry to take down the harder bosses.

Missions are present, you obtain them from a certain stone that appears in some of the rooms. Missions vary from collecting certain items, to taking down harder baddies. Although missions and bosses exist you can avoid them entirely, I did this on some of my first play troughs, This was a mistake as the rewards and gems help you in your mission to the bottom of the dungeon!

Each play through will be different to the last as all rooms and enemies are in different places, creating a sense of unknown every time you play. this makes replaying the game time and time again a lot more fun! There’s also a downside to the randomly built levels, as every once in awhile the harder bosses will be just around the corner giving you an almost doomed run.

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As an RPG fan who doesn't have the time to sink a tonne a hours into games, Quest of Dungeons was an extremely refreshing take on the genre as its shorter quicker and full of action from the get go, while at the same time not bombarding you with a million pickups and customisation's.

So all in all I loved my time with Quest Of Dungeons. Anyone itching for a fast paced roguelike RPG that doesn't require all of your time then this is the perfect pickup for you. The battle and movement systems could be a little confusing at first but after that very short duration of learning is over, you’ll find yourself loading Quest of dungeons up again and again. with multiple characters over multiple levels that are procedurally generated along with multiple difficulties and unlockables, there's plenty to keep you returning for more!

I give Quest of dungeons a Value award! for its small price tag there's plenty here to keep you coming back for more.

Quest of Dungeons is available right now on Nintendo Switch and 3DS systems at a value  £7.99/$8.99/€8.99

 

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Robonauts Review

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Robonauts Review
By Gary Gray


Robonauts is an arcade style shooter set in the depths of space with its own unique spin. Clusters of tiny planets scattered across the levels are home to dangerous foes as you shoot, jump and gravitate to other planets. That small yet unique game play quirk of being able to jump to any adjacent planets is a  nice little feature that defines the Robonauts game play.

From the offset you treated to a nice introductory video about a janitor robot who takes control of a mech suit and crash lands in on a planet, a small yet nice piece of video, however doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the game due to its radically different style. While there is a simple story throughout the game, it lends itself to being more of a mission briefing as its story can leave you scratching your head with its confusing narrative.

 

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Does Robonauts need a story? No. Game play is at the forefront of what Robonauts is about. While Super simple to pick up and play, Challenge is only a step away, even on the easiest mode. Power Ups and diverse enemy attacks can cause the easily accessible game play to become a little more in depth that you’d think. Saving your new power ups ammo for the harder bad guys can really sway the way your match is going, so it's always worth running and gunning for the more difficult foes when the power ups show. Aiming your guns is automatic, and that's great to keep the simple inputs, however it becomes a burden when there’s multiple baddies and it aims at the wrong one, sometimes even firing the opposite way to where you're looking.

Missions are spread out over 12 levels that have a different aim. From wiping out all foes, protecting a valuable resource or activating laser style drills, there’s always a new element to keep each mission feeling fresh.

The constant beat of the music is a personal highlight of mine with its totally pumping soundtrack to enhance the action game play. Visuals on the other hand are hit and miss, where they do the job, there's not much that stands out, other than a change of colour, not much is different from each planet or level.

 

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Where Robonauts really shines is its co-op and versus modes! Grab a joycon each and you’ll soon be screaming at each other as you play through the levels is split screen, This is it! The stride I was after playing the game, and what makes buying Robonauts all the worthwhile!

So if you're into arcade style shooters with the full intent of playing co-op then Robonauts could well be a game that you're looking for! For all its small misses it makes up for with small hits. The main campaign might not be the most fleshed out game on the market, but does offer challenge and replay-ability. Over all taking this game out and about in tabletop mode with single joycon co-op, has this being a great party piece and another hit on quick fire multiplayer game list.

Robonauts is Out now on Nintendo Switch eshop and Sony PS4.

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36 Fragments Of Midnight Review

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36 Fragments Of Midnight Review
By Phil Myth

36 Fragments of Midnight has a fairly simple premise. You play as Midnight, a little white block with a couple of eyes and a penchant for double jumping, who has to scour around a 2D, procedurally generated world to find 36 star fragments that his rather menacing looking friends have misplaced. 

The level of course changes each time you play, but you'll always have to avoid buzzsaws, lasers and spikes in order to round up the missing fragments. Visually the game is rather gorgeous, opting for a simple silhouette approach, with moonlight lighting your way. 

The subtle changes in lighting as you climb higher or lower throughout the level help you keep track of which areas you've already explored and where you started from. This turns out to be rather handy as you'll have to bring the fragments back to your friends at the start once you've found them all.

Midnight controls perfectly, gliding along and spinning rather adorably if you catch him on a ledge you're attempting to jump over. Jumping is satisfying too, and you'll need to time those double jumps perfectly if you want to have a successful run. 

For example, there could be a fragment hovering over a row of spikes that will require one jump into the pit to grab it, and another one in mid-air to get back out, lest Midnight perishes. I failed on plenty of runs, but it was always due to a mistimed jump or my own impatience. There's no cheap deaths to be had, and the game is all the more addictive for it.

There isn't really much in the way of puzzles, just runs that need to be timed and executed perfectly to rack up the best time. It is actually possible to cheat a little and throw yourself at a saw or laser to register your time once you've collected all 36 fragments, rather than trek back to the start. This will give you a better personal best, but it's worth trekking back at least once for the amusing reward dialogue. 

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It looks just as great in portable mode as it does in docked, and the sound of the wind blowing through adds to the ethereal atmosphere created by the visuals. The addition of a simple piano motif in the background would have set it off nicely, but that's a minor gripe.

36 Fragments of Midnight is the perfect game for a quick run through if you've got five minutes to kill. It's beautiful to look at, incredibly addictive, and at a mere $2.99/£2.99 on the eShop, is an absolute bargain.

For the amount of fun to be had at such a low price, I give it a gold award.
 

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Chicken Wiggle Review

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Chicken Wiggle Review
By Phil Myth

Chicken Wiggle is a 2D platformer who's real charm lies not in it's own levels, but in those created by the players themselves. Developed by Atooi – spin off of Mutant Mudds developer Renegade Kid – it sees players take control of the eponymous Chicken the chicken and Wiggle the worm. The buddy duo traverse their way across 48 levels in an attempt to free their bird friends (who presumably forgo eating Wiggle as a reward for his part in their emancipation) after they are captured by a nefarious witch.

They do this by jumping, naturally, pecking at enemies, and using Wiggle as a sort of hookshot to pull Chicken across chasms and up towers. Wiggle can also be used to stun enemies, giving his parter enough time to peck them out of the way. He may get second billing, but Wiggle is the real hero here for my money.

The levels themselves are fairly straightforward, but never get boring. The sheer variety in mechanics, power ups, and puzzles to be solved mean that I was encountering new things right up until the final level. Those power-ups range from giving Chicken the power of flight, to a ghostly ability allowing him to walk through spikes. There's even one that allows him to peck through almost any surface, giving those levels a Steamworld Dig quality to them. All of this meant that whilst the difficulty never really ramped up to be truly challenging, I was never bored because there was always a new idea to be introduced.

If the main game introduces you to the tools available, then the level editor let's you go wild. Unlike Mario Maker, everything is available from the get go, and there's even some items like warp squares that don't even show up in the main campaign. The level size is fixed, and there's no way to zoom out to view the level as a whole, which can make it a little cumbersome to really plan out what it is you want to create. Similarly, there's no real explanation of what each of the tiles does. But once you've experimented a bit and got your head around things, your imagination can run free. 

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You can set different criteria for completion too. The caged birds make a return from the main campaign, but you can also set it so that victory is achieved by defeating every enemy, tracking down all the collectibles, or by escorting a little skeleton dude back to his grave. This alone adds a tonne of extra variety to that seen in the main game.

Once you've concocted your level, you can of course upload it for everyone else to try too. Much like Mario Maker, you'll have to beat your level first before you can upload it, but unlike Mario Maker, finding other levels of interest is a doddle. You can search by popularity, name, or creator. You can list levels by the newest to be added or browse those created by Atooi themselves. Once you've beaten them, you can even add a list of favourites. It's a brilliantly robust level editor and means that the game has as long a lifespan as it's fan base wants to give it. 

Presentation wise Chicken Wiggle is incredibly bright and colourful. The levels aren't particularly packed with detail, but there's an impressive depth to their appearance, especially with the 3D slider up. The music is pleasant if not particularly memorable, and the protagonists are incredibly adorable and rather cool. By contrast the enemy design is a little generic, and coupled with the three letters that spell out FUN to be found in each level, gave me some minor flashbacks of those plug-and-play Mario Bros clones your nan used to buy you. But the actual gameplay mechanics are so tight and polished that you can kinda forgive it.

Chicken Wiggle then performs best when taken as a level creator, with a 48 stage tutorial to introduce you to your tool set. The eponymous duo are a truly cool couple of characters, and the sheer variety of platforms, power-ups, spikes, and switches available to you, should keep you playing long after you finish the main game. 

We've given Chicken Wiggle a Silver Award!
 

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Forma.8 Review

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Forma.8 Review
By Gary Gray

Froma.8 is an early 2017 game that is available on all major platforms, but the Nintendo Switch is surely the best home for it! Gameplay lends itself perfectly to the handheld features of Switch, as Forma.8 is best played in short bursts of immersion.

As soon as you start Forma.8 you're greeted with a beautiful cut scene that sets the tone and story perfectly. As a spaceship approaches a planet, the on board computer boots up small sphere shaped droids that get fired towards the planet's surface, upon approach, your character droid crash lands which in effect sets up the start of the game.

Surrounded by the darkness, isolation and earines of planet you’re set to explore, the first room builds the ambient feeling of barren lands that forma.8 has running throughout.


Forma.8 is mainly an exploration based game that has you shifting back and forth between different sections of a beautiful world. Physics are what builds the majority of the controls as your floating probe takes time to accelerate and decelerate, making you think ahead in situations of conflict and confrontation. Further progression through the game sees you upgrading and building an arsenal of new abilities and attacks, from a small quick burst of energy to take out surrounding threats, to a timed bomb that can be propelled away from you.
Everything complies together perfectly for the feeling of emptiness yet sheer beauty that Forma.8 holds, and the controls only add to that feeling. Every small winding cave will have you bumping and scraping walls, where the jaw dropping open Vistas make it well know that you’re a small entity in this huge planet.    

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Combat and Puzzles require thought as opposed to just charging in. Approaching a situation carefully will be the result in a greater chance of success, and sometimes you have to make a decision to just run for the sake of survival. Main bosses are incredibly thought out, with clever ways of defeating them, whether it be something to do with the environmental surroundings or assessing their attacks to take advantage of their move set.
Sometimes however the puzzles and bosses difficulty can be a little over cooked, offering a little too much challenge at the tail end of an easier empty section.

Dialogue is none existent, instead dropping you with no instructions on what you’re doing or which direction to head, leaving the visual and audio clues to be the guide you. There's a small minimalist map that lets you know where you’ve been in each area and the exits that you can take without letting you know how to get to them, adding to the exploration.

The stunning graphical style is equally complimented by the atmospheric ambient soundtrack, which really drives home a feeling of loneliness. The music is overlain by the sounds of the wildlife, hazards and other enemies that are scattered throughout the world. While fully emerged in the feeling of emptiness, the HD rumble of the Switch can sometimes break that feeling with its loud Spring like noises breaking the quieter parts of the game, as can the juddery frame rates when entering a new area.


Forma.8 is a fantastic game if you're into the “metroidvania” style games, with its fantastic art style, perfectly fitting soundtrack and a feeling that most exploration games struggle to communicate with the player. Developer Mixed Bag have pulled off a masterpiece of artistic brilliance in a brave venture for its exploration based gameplay that builds strengths from its ambiance and beauty.

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Topic Nintendo Podcast 10 (Indie Drought Filler)

Topics - Indies filling droughts
           
Host Gary Gray is joined by Antonio Guillen from the Switch talk podcast to have a chat about indies, and if they're helping keep the switch afloat! 
(and yes, Well aware of the mistake at the start)

Thank you for listening.

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Topic Nintendo Podcast 9 (We Played Mario Odyssey & Indies)

Topic - Insomnia61
Host Gary Gray is joined by his brother Ricky to talk about the gaming show insomnia61! 
We played Mario odyssey, Mario and Rabbids Kingdom battle and Pokken! 

Indie:
Phogs!
Medieval Steve
Hyper Sentinel
Get me bro!
Rouge trooper
De Mambo
Shu
Claws of Furry

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League of Evil (Switch Review)

League of Evil - Switch Review

By Gary Gray

Premise

League of evil is a port of a 2011 IOS and android game that's a skill based puzzle plat former in which you take control of a bad-ass cyborg agent, who takes orders from a man with a rocking moustache, to try and stop a group of scientists ”the league of evil ” from developing weapons of mass destruction.

But, how do you stop scientists when your a cyborg?
Punch them so hard, it knocks their heads clean off!

Again,
And Again,
And Again!
Take that Evil scientists!

 

Game play

Each Level is a short, fast burst of platforming madness, where the goal is to get to the scientist and show him what for! But along the way you might want to pick up the optional briefcase if you want to 100% the game. The controls are twitchy, simple, and extremely responsive, a jump button, which you can tap twice for a double jump, and an attack button that gives you a mid-air kick if airborne. Jump up against a wall and you’ll grab it and slowly slide down which you can use to your advantage by catapulting yourself off to do wall jumps to reach higher places.

Grunts, Spikes, sensory guns, and other hazards litter the environment. But with each death comes an instant re-spawn and an extra mark on your death counter…... and a few curse words at your switch as the difficulty ramps up.

Incredibly well-designed levels with “out of the way” pickups are a highlight of the overall design; however, everything is made of the same set of components so levels feel like they’re along the same lines and could possibly get stale on long playthroughs.  

If you're the completionist type then there's something for you here, there's a three-star system that rewards you for speed running through the levels, the faster you run, the more stars you’ll get.


Visuals and Audio

Block based simple graphics are easily overlooked, but help you to keep focused on the pure level design without cluttering it up with other distractions, it works in motion, with simple animation to suit the simple look, where it's not going to blow you away, it gets the job done with ease.

The Soundtrack is retro in its glorious form, blending into the game gracefully without stopping for death screens or loading between levels. All the sound effects in game are simple 8-bit sounds, but luckily are quite low in the mix, a mistake averted that most retro inspired games make. The only downside to the soundtrack is that it can get repetitive if you're stuck on a level for too long, as the levels music loops fast.

 

Modes

From the main menu, you are greeted with four options.

Start: where you find the main set of World and Levels, and trust me, there’s tonnes of Levels.

Level Editor: That’s right! A Level Editor! Where you can create missions using the Switches touchscreen or controllers, download missions from the internet by using certain filters, download packs of levels containing 30 missions, or search missions using a unique ID.

Where the Level Editor is a fantastic inclusion, it does come with one or two drawbacks. The first is there no option to name levels or filter searches by creators or tags, instead you limited to filters such as “top levels.” After downloading a mission, you may find it hard to find at first, that’s because rather than being in the options on the level creator, they’re placed in download mission’s folder at the end of the world options in the “start” menu, it’s not a big problem, but one that’s confusing the first time you try to look for those downloaded levels.

Achievements: Self-explanatory, but there’s also the nice addition of user stats in there too!

Options: Does all the usual things such as; sound and music volumes, language, some control configurations, and the option to turn gore and auto replay on and off.

 

Verdict

If you're after that quick pick up and play experience with short snappy levels, that ramp up in difficulty, then this may just be for you! Find a good community, and sharing your levels could keep this game being constantly played on your switch for months on end.

With its simple charm and straightforward game play, League of evil could well be the creator's game that Mario maker fans have been missing so far on the switch.


 

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